by Joseph Stanton

Higher rhythms are for them an easy joy.
Because they are so wide of wing
(a seven pound bird has a seven foot wingspan)

they glide, lovely at top of sky
or just above the waves,
seeking squid for eating.

But their takeoffs require
a coming wind or running start,
or both.

When they land they crash,
stumbling into bushes
to break their fall.

Goony birds observers have called them,
but when they mate
they dance and dance,

a singing jig that makes of the mate
a kind of home
and then they go back to soaring.


Joseph Stanton’s latest book is a collection of poems, Things Seen, which was published in 2016 by Brick Road Poetry Press. He has published four other books of poems and many books of other sorts. He has published more than 400 poems in journals—including appearances in Hawai`i Pacific Review, Poetry, New Letters, Antioch Review, and Harvard Review. He is a Professor of Art History and American Studies at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa.


Filed under Poetry

3 responses to “Albatross

  1. The poem Albatross
    1. Magnificent. Birds! How I love birds,
    they are so alive in this poem

    loony birds observers have called them,
    but when they mate
    they dance and dance,

    All I can say to the poet is BRAVO 🙂

  2. is that Gooney birds or looney birds? Either way – a soaring poem.

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